Monday, February 5, 2024


 Winter Break

After the end of year holiday rush

When nothing is ever enough

No matter how much

You think you have given,

When innocence is negligence,

Extravagance forgets its shame

And the long con unravels

Into scraps of New Year’s Eve confetti,

We come to the southern beach 

Ostensibly to be refreshed 

By the predictable

Crashing of waves against a wet

Graveyard of broken bones, waves

That flatten like black tongues 

And retreat with seized 

Fragments of old shields

Ceded by soft bodies

Forever lost.

It’s too cold in January, even down 

Here just north of the Tropic of Cancer.

We’re wearing sweaters and socks.

We shiver in the wind.

If you look straight ahead

Your eyes alight on the zenith

Of a parabolic horizon

Separating sky from sea.

From there it’s a straight line

As the murderous gull flies 

To the back wall of a panic room

Hidden in the thalamus of my brain.

In truth, all lines end here—

An infinite regression

Of staggering complexity

Boomeranging back to a pinpoint

Singularity seen only once, one time,

By a single person, standing alone, 

Probably somewhere dumb.

There’s nothing regenerative here,

Don’t let the surf fool you.

It isn’t the same wave cyclically 

Renewing itself 

Crest after trough

Over and over until you’re gone

Like some old poem

that turned into a cliché.

No, it’s a single wave collapsing 

One time 

Never to arch its back and rush

Headlong for shore ever again. 

One bundle of coursing energy 

Ending in a froth of disconsolate fury. 

I am not reborn

Again, nor is the ocean. 

Which is both the lesson

And the source

Of the great relaxation—

That something so small,

Light as a tern,

On the edge of the vast

Could be both creator and sole curator

Of an otherwise unknown universe. 

Wife and kids are nearby

Attending to other things on the beach:

Soccer balls and shells. Selfies with sandpipers

Someone watching us from the dunes 

Would say:  now there’s a man who isn’t alone 

But there is a difference between there and here.

As vast as the ocean sprawled out before me

As small as the shadows we cast on the winter sand.


No comments: